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Merson makes huge Hammers CL claim

Paul Merson thinks the Hammers have a “once in a lifetime” chance to qualify for the Champions League this season.

The Irons are fourth ahead of the run-in and this weekend’s clash with Leicester, who are third.

A win would see David Moyes’ brilliant Hammers move within a point of the third-placed Foxes.

Merson admits he does have doubts over the Irons’ squad, worrying about the impact of significant injuries on the squad, especially now both Declan Rice and Mikey Antonio have been ruled out for a period of time.

But he maintains that the fixtures of the Irons are just soft enough for Moyes’ men to complete a genuinely remarkable achievement and qualify for the Champions League.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “What a huge win for them at Wolves!

“I like West Ham. I like their fixtures for the run-in. They are a really kind set of games. If they were Liverpool, Chelsea or Spurs’ fixtures, you’d say they were a shoo-in for the top four, but it’s West Ham and there’s this nagging doubt. You just don’t know how they will stand up to the pressure of the run-in.

“An injury here and an injury there and all of a sudden, they could be in trouble. They already have Declan Rice out and Michail Antonio picked up an injury on Monday, so they won’t want to lose too many more players.

“However, I can’t get away from their fixtures. They have got the best fixtures out of everybody in my opinion.

“It’s a massive game for them against Leicester this weekend. If West ham can win that then you look at Leicester and start to worry. They could then be in a bit of trouble. But if Leicester win you worry for West Ham’s chances. That’s how quickly things can change.

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“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Hammers and I really do think they’ve got every chance.”

Ultimately, the ex-Arsenal and England star believes that the race to qualify for the Champions League will come down to a straight fight between the Irons and Liverpool.

The Reds are three points back in seventh.

He added: “West Ham have one of the greatest opportunities in the history of the club to get into the top four and into the Champions League. It’s a one-off, the ultimate for this West Ham team. I don’t think it’s a chance that comes along again!

“Do I think they are going to do it? I’m not sure, but they do have the fixtures to do it. I can’t stress how important the game against Leicester at the weekend is for them. I think they have to beat Leicester.

“Obviously, Manchester City and Manchester United are in, and I think Leicester make it. For the final spot, it’s between West ham and Liverpool, and I’m just sticking Liverpool, but it’s going to be so tight.

“A lot will depend on what happens in some huge games in the coming weeks.”

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.

One comment on “Merson makes huge Hammers CL claim

  1. Why does Merson keep being quoted? He is to Prem football what Freddie Garrety was to 60’s chart music.

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